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Relieve stress at work and strike a yoga pose

You don't have to work at a physically demanding job to come home feeling completely exhausted. The demands and stress encountered by the millions of Americans who don suits to work each day are major energy zappers that send many to the coffee s...

You don't have to work at a physically demanding job to come home feeling completely exhausted. The demands and stress encountered by the millions of Americans who don suits to work each day are major energy zappers that send many to the coffee shop or machine by midday for a dose of caffeine for a temporary boost.

Caffeine, however, can leave you drained when its effects wear off. A healthier, more revitalizing way to boost your mood and energy while lowering your blood pressure and heart rate is yoga, New York City yoga instructor Edward Vilga says.

Vilga's clients are primarily "suits -- corporate types who have climbed the ladder of success brilliantly," but are usually in desperate need of the balance that can be obtained through an orchestrated combination of breathing and easy stretches.

"It's when you're in the thick of things -- navigating the corporate jungle, negotiating with clients or stuck in traffic on your way to a major meeting -- that you need the calming benefits of yoga the most," says Vilga, who has assembled a yoga tool kit for corporate types in his new book "Yoga for Suits: 30 No-Sweat Poses to Do in Pinstripes" (Running Press, $14.95).

From "Upward Spiral" and "Attitude Elevator" to "Rat Race Release" and "Climbing the Corporate Ladder," Vilga's cleverly named poses can be accomplished by just about anyone who is healthy. The more high-pressured your life, the more you need to weave a little yoga into it, he says.

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Yoga in the workplace, Vilga says, improves attitude, reduces stress and allows greater focus.

You don't need a mat, change of clothes, props or a shower afterward for Vilga's "Yoga for Suits" poses. All of them can be accomplished with minimal effort at the desk. They are designed to bring peace of mind as they release tensions in the body.

Here's an easy pose for starting the day:

KEYBOARD WARM-UP

Interlace your fingers into a soft fist. Stretch the fist above your head. Keep fingers together, but turn wrists up and open the palms to the sky. Lengthen the arms even further skyward, keeping your gaze where there's no strain, either upward or straight ahead.

Lengthen your breath in and out as you stretch.

Add movement by bringing your soft-fisted hands behind your head as you exhale. Breathing through your nose as you exhale again, lengthen your arms up. When they are straight up, draw your shoulders blades down the back.

If you notice your shoulders coming up by your ears, relax them as you exhale. On the next inhale, restraighten arms upward, then relax them behind your head on the exhale.

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Benefits: Stretches fingers, hands and wrists for daylong keyboard work. Also warms up shoulders and releases tensions in the front of the body. Repeat throughout the day to prevent tightening from stress.

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